The 3rd-ranked Michigan Wolverines return to action on Thursday as they host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a Big Ten battle. The Wolverines outlasted the Wisconsin Badgers in a defensive showdown over the weekend, improving to 9-1 against Conference opponents this year. The Scarlet Knights have been heating up lately, winning five of their last six and holding down 7th place in the Big Ten.
Fixture: Michigan Wolverines vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights - NCAA Men's Basketball
Date & Time: Thursday, February 18th, 2021, 9 PM ET
Venue: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Rutgers Scarlet Knights Preview
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights ran into some struggles once they opened their conference schedule, but seem to have found their rhythm recently. In their latest victory over the Northwestern Wildcats, the Rutgers defenders allowed a mere 50 points to secure a 14-point win.
The Scarlet Knights have lost their top 25 status, but possess the talent to upset the Michigan Wolverines on Thursday night. With star guard Ron Harper Jr. leading the way, Rutgers could give this loaded Michigan squad a run for their money.
Key Player - Ron Harper Jr.
The key to victory for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights could be the offense of Ron Harper Jr. The junior guard is averaging a team-high 16.2 points per game, also hauling in an average of 6 boards.
Harper has provided consistent contributions for the Rutgers offense, scoring 10 or more points in all but four of his games this season. If Ron Harper Jr. can have a big game against Michigan, the Scarlet Knights could shock the college world with an upset.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights Predicted Lineup
G Jacob Young, G Ron Harper Jr., G Montez Mathis, F Paul Mulcahy, F Cliff Omoruyi
Michigan Wolverines Preview
The Michigan Wolverines continued their outstanding season with another strong showing over the weekend. The Wolverines improved their overall record to 14-1, proving their worth as a top-3 team in college basketball.
As they prepare to host a strong Rutgers squad on Thursday, the Michigan Wolverines will hope for another display of defensive excellence to fend off a strong offense. The Wolverines outsize just about every team they face and should hold a big advantage in the paint against the Scarlet Knights.
Key Player - Isaiah Livers
Following a game-high 20 points in the Michigan Wolverines' latest victory, Isaiah Livers will once again be the key to victory on Thursday. The senior guard is averaging 15 points per game on an impressive 49% shooting this season, making his case for the NBA draft.
The talented shooter has put his long range ability on display, knocking down just under 46% of his shots from three thus far. If Livers can keep this level of production up, the Michigan Wolverines will be tough to beat.
Michigan Wolverines Predicted Lineup
G Isaiah Livers, F Hunter Dickinson, G Eli Brooks, F Franz Wagner, G Mike Smith
Rutgers vs. Michigan Prediction
The Michigan Wolverines have been looking like an unstoppable force lately, suffering only one loss this season. The Wolverines' offense is powered by experienced seniors, limiting turnovers and maximizing their offensive possessions.
Rutgers' defenders will need to bring their best effort on Thursday if they are going to compete. The Michigan Wolverines will have a big advantage and should come away with a statement victory at home.
Where to watch Rutgers vs. Michigan
The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports One.